Hello to all on this beautiful, sunny day! I am back at my desk and it only took three full days to catch up on all of the emails that arrived while I was away! In my last report I told you that I really only had one topic to discuss: BC Ferries. Well, I am going to tell you the same thing in this report since the events that are on the horizon are on the immediate horizon! I hope that everyone will read through this entire report due to the importance of the information contained within.
Nothing has slowed down in my absence in the way of protest. The people of the Sunshine Coast have been hard at it and Coalitions have formed and websites are up and plans are being made. I spent most of yesterday on various calls and on a conference call with the organizers from other areas to get our game plan in order. The decision is unanimous: We are going to Victoria! When I say "we", I am speaking of communities from all the way up and down this coast of ours. So, here is the plan:
We are looking at mobilizing the entire coast and going to a massive demonstration from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm on Tuesday, March 11th. This date is dependant on permission from the Sargent at Arms at the Legislature which would only be denied if there was already a protest on that day. This will be confirmed later today. We are hoping to have many thousands of people turn out. That is the hope. The reality will be up to you. Many people are busy trying to organize transportation (busses) and that will depend on funding. So if there are any large corporate donors or anyone with some spare cash kicking around, what better way to invest it! The future of our coastal communities and our provincial economy depend on the success of this protest.
I am looking for organizers. I already have a few working hard on this locally but we can use all the help we can get. If you are able and interested, please notify me by email at jimabramxplornet.ca and title the email (all in caps) "FERRY PROTEST". Further down in this report I will attach two links from the group I am working with on the Sunshine Coast. There will also be sign painters needed and maybe a band or two with PA systems, etc.
Since we know that not all people will be able to make the Victoria protest, local protests are going to be planned in the communities that cannot make it to Victoria to be held on March 15th with details to follow.
So, you may be asking "Why March 11th?" We went over this very methodically to come up with the best date. The Legislature resumes sitting on Feb. 11th with the Throne Speech being the media focus of that day. So that was out. On Feb. 18th the Budget will be the topic of the day and once again, the media will be following that story. There is a one week break slid in there after that and the next noteworthy event will be the release of the Judy Kirk "Report on the Community Engagement Process". She was the government consultant that conducted the "engagement" process. We decided that this is the one time that the media will be very keen to see the reaction of the people of BC's coastal communities. We all agreed that this will be our moment and we need to seize it. The protest must be during the week while the legislators are in the Legislature, so it cannot be on a weekend. So, there you are! Now we need to work out all the details.
In the meantime I will have met with all of the Regional Districts in BC (on this Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 4th) to convince them to give us province-wide support from their Regional Districts to roll back the fares, withdraw the planned sailing cuts and put us back into Highways where we belong. I will be asking them to contact the Premier and the Minister and the Cabinet and tell them that they support our wishes to be treated fairly and put back into Highways. We all need fiscal fairness. We pay for their needs and they should be willing to help pay for ours.
I would now like to append a couple of items for you to read to get your blood boiling. the first one s an excerpt from a 2002 press release regarding the changes to the BC Ferries structure. The News Release link can be accessed at 2
.pdf . As you read through it, ask yourself, was this a cruel joke or a deliberate hoax? And please, keep in mind that when that announcement was made in 2002 Christy Clark was Deputy Premier. This BC Ferries debacle happened on her watch. I would also like to give you the links to two important websites that will show you what is going on coast wide. They are: http://bcferrycoalition.com
Ok, so that is the reporting part of what is going on. Now I would like to say to you that I cannot state strongly enough how important this protest in Victoria is going to be. I am arranging media coverage province wide and there is nothing worse than putting on a protest and having no one show up. The success of this protest is up to you. The success of our community's future is up to you. This demonstration is a statement to our elected government of how we feel about the plans they have in store for us and the damage that those plans will cause in our communities and province wide. I have led you through other demonstrations (e.g. Victoria in 1997) and now I have joined forces with a much larger group with the same interests and objectives. We must get BC Ferries back into the Ministry of Transportation. This is the only long term, sustainable solution for running our marine highway. This is our chance and it may be our only chance. We have been through all of the charades called "consultation" to no avail. It is now time to show the government how you really feel about this issue. WE must win this battle.
I am going to stop there and see how things go on Tuesday in Vancouver with the press conference and with the presentation to the other Regional Districts. I will report back to you on those events. Please check my Face Book page for more information at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram
Feel free to call me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0... Lots of choices.
Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!
Jim Abram Director,
Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD